Shabbat Shalom From Elmo!

Remember before Coronavirus when times where a little more innocent…


When we didn’t have to worry about viruses spread by eating live or wild animals or that “escape” from weapons laboratories.¬†


It’s good to be a little nostalgic.


Shabbat Shalom! ūüėČ


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Now This Is Scary On Coronavirus

Latest Coronavirus news reported by¬†Reuters¬†from South Korea…


Virus appears to be¬†“reactivated”¬†after person is already cleared of it.


91 patients so far!


Is this the result of faulty testing or is this not your typical virus???


Folks, it does not look like we are in clear by a long shot on this yet. 


Be careful and stay safe!¬† ūüėČ


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and thank you to my sister with a PhD in biomedical science for sharing this with me)

The Covid-19 Graph — No One Wants To Confront

This is the Coronavirus chart that I don’t think anyone wants us to confront.¬†


Rather than the typical chart we are shown with one high and then it tapers off and all is well…


There could be scenarios where there are multiple curves and peaks. 


For example, if we send people back out to (work, school, etc.) and stop the social distancing too early–while there are still Coronavirus carriers around us and we don’t have an effective vaccine–then the contagion can start all over again.¬†


Further, even with a vaccine, if the virus mutates (and could become more virulent) then this infection can go on spreading and killing with multiple peaks. 


In short, this is the chart that speaks to cases where businesses are closed and people out of work much longer than expected, and where the recession takes hold and does some potentially real and lasting damage above and beyond what’s perhaps already priced in.¬†


Again, let’s hope and pray that we don’t stop the social distancing prematurely and that our doctors and scientists get the vaccine for us sooner rather than later.¬†


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Pathogen Deaths – Worst Is Yet To Come

So maybe I am the only one who doesn’t see how things are adding up.


But in the U.S. we have 4,000 dead from Coronavirus and 3/4 of the country (all the major population centers) are on lockdown. 


Yet, the projections are still for deaths in the U.S. to pile up between 100,000 to 240,000. 


How do you get from 4,000 to 240,000 with most people under lockdown?


The numbers of projected deaths were in the millions before the lockdown and social distancing, so yes the numbers are lower and better now. 


Still the escalating death toll is frightening in its magnitude of what is yet to come DESPITE the lockdown.


Moreover, the estimated death in the U.S. from the Flu was only¬†34,000¬†(2018-2019) and that’s with everybody round and about doing their business.


My question is what happens after the (first) peak when they send people back to work and school?


There are still going to be people sick and contagious out there and the whole cycle STARTS AGAIN until we get the vaccine. 


And even after the vaccine, it may become seasonal like the flu or mutate and become even more virulent. 


It seems like there is plenty of reason to be cautious and concerned about what is yet to happen from here.


Then again we may be considered fortunate this time and actually beat this Coronavirus, but then again what happens when the NEXT¬†really¬†bad natural or man-made pathogen gets out? ūüėČ


Note: There are approximately 16 countries with deadly biological weapons programs. 


(Credit Photo: My wonderful so-in-law, Itzchak)

Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone.¬†


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show¬†The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there.¬†


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread.¬†


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.¬† ūüėČ


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Don’t Cough On Granny

So these are the signs of the times of Coronavirus. 


Pictures telling us not to cough on Granny. 


Cover your germy mouth!


Don’t get the older and more vulnerable amongst us sick.¬†


I was in the elevator the other day, standing in the corner next to the elevator buttons. 


Someone else–an older person–gets on with a big (double size) shopping cart.


He’s standing in the opposite back corner (kitty corner from me) with this huge cart between us.¬†


Then he starts yelling at me, literally, to “get in the corner!”


Ah, I’m already in the opposite corner.¬†


He’s huffing and puffing angry that he wants me to literally get up against both walls.¬†


I was almost tempted to say something like maybe you should just get off and catch the next elevator Sir. 


But I held my tongue, in part out of sympathy for these elderly people who are obviously really scared (and maybe rightfully so) of the Coronavirus. 


Sometimes, I think to myself what if we were really hit at some point in the future with a very deadly bioweapon that was expressly designed to kill and to repulse any sort of countermeasures against it. 


What if the fatality rate was 1/3 to 2/3 of the population like in the Middle Ages Bubonic Plague or even higher like 100% of anyone that gets infected from a military-grade, genetically modified virus (similar to effects from Ebola). 


Maybe it’s not good to ask what ifs, but if we are really going to learn anything from this, then I think we need to extrapolate from the¬†relatively¬†minor now to the¬†potential¬†major down the road.¬†


If you think we have hysteria, deaths, and $2.2 trillion U.S. impact now, this is just a glimpse of what could actually happen. 


We need to seriously rethink our disaster preparedness and response–big time.¬† ūüėČ


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Coronavirus – Something or Nothing?

I don’t know about you but I have found the communication about the Coronavirus to be absolutely confusing.


And the actions demonstrating unpreparedness, disorganized response, general chaos, and panic do not match the few calming words we are getting. 


No wonder everyone is panicking and the bottom is falling from the market.


On one hand:


РThe officials tell everyone to remain calm, and there is no reason to panic. 


– Help is on the way.


– People are overreacting.


– Most people that get Covid 19 won’t even know they had it or the symptoms will be mild (or maybe moderate)


– The death rate is “only” like 3 or 4% and it’s mostly older people or those with chronic ailments anyway (as if these people don’t matter).¬†


– Younger children aren’t really getting it (although we don’t know exactly why or the impact on pregnant women).¬†


– It’s less contagious and deadly than the flu (wait, it’s more contagious and deadly).¬†


– There are plenty of tests available for everyone (no, there aren’t).


РIt will be over in a few weeks when the seasons change and the temperature goes up. 


РA vaccine will soon be ready for testing and then distribution after 12-18 months. 


– The numbers of infected are going down in China–see they have it under control!


– Maybe we should allow investigative drugs to be used (or maybe not, the FDA thinks this is a bad idea).


РThe impact to the economy will be over probably by August (or will it?). 


– It’ll ALL be over soon.


On the other hand:


– We don’t know what we’re facing (people are routinely using the words apocalypse and armageddon).¬†


– This could be the “big one!”


РIs this a punishment from G-d (and is the Messiah coming)? 


РThis has reached pandemic proportions. 


РWe are declaring a national emergency. 


– This may have come out of a Chinese bioweapons lab.


РAlso, China suppressed information and initial response on this making the outbreak worse. 


– “China should be punished for these things” (or some version of this).


РCases are raising around the world. 


– The contagion is worse than initially thought (there are comparisons to the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed around 50 million people)


РThe death rate is higher than expected. 


– We don’t know why or where certain people got Covid 19 from.


РThe hospitals are already overwhelmed and are unprepared for a real surge of cases. 


– We need to “flatten the curve” so our healthcare system isn’t brought to its knees.¬†


РWe are already triaging patients and our doctors and nurses are working extra long hours and are exhausted. 


– We aren’t prepared for this–our healthcare system and government has “failed us”.¬†


– We’re rolling out unprecedented economic assistance from the Fed, the Treasury…another trillion dollar deficit (no answer for how this gets paid, if ever…can anyone say runaway inflation in the future and lots of worthless dollars).¬†


– Washing and “Social Distancing” are paramount.¬†


РThere is a run on toilet paper and disinfectants and these are either sold out or vendors are price gouging these items. 


РWe are shutting down the country (workplaces, fitness centers, eat-in restaurants, entertainment, travel, places of worship, and any significant gathering of people). 


– The instructions to stay at home in “indefinite”!


РPeople are stuck in the house and worried about how long this will go on. 


– Some places like New Rochelle, NY are under quarantine and the National Guard has been called out.


РThere is talk of a curfew and further measures of quarantine to be enforced under penalty of imprisonment. 


– The lines at the stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, Supermarkets, Groceries) are out the door and the shelves are empty.¬†


– Amazon announces that they are running out on consumer stables!


РBusinesses are suspending workers, moving them to part time, and laying them off. 


– The stock market is down by 1/3 and we’re told that this could just be the beginning.¬†


РA recession is looming and the economic impact and duration is unknown. 


РItaly is on lockdown. 


РBorders are being closed. 


– People can’t get home from abroad.¬†


– Cruise ships aren’t being allowed to port.¬†


РAirlines are screaming for a financial bailout. 

РNavy Hospital Ships with 1,000 beds each are being deployed to the east and west coast. 


– We’re sending $1,000 checks (or something like this) to people below a certain income level (maybe $65,000).


РTaxes are supposedly being deferred (although not filing of returns or estimated taxes yet).  


– People are wearing masks everywhere (but we are being told only the sick ones need to wear it and we see everyone in China wearing it and of course our first responders and medical professionals, so which is it).


– Primary voting is delayed in some states and there is question whether the November Presidential election will also be delayed.


Summary:


Does anyone know WTF is going on around here???


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Stop The Coronavirus, Please!

It’s been a few exhausting weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has gone public.¬†


First case in China in November.


Now as a Pandemic in 126 countries!


Over 132,000 confirmed cases, so far .


And around 5,000 deaths ūüēĪ.


The numbers are projected to climb/////.


With Dr. Faucci of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warning that it will “get worse before it gets better.”


Everything is closing down from our work facilities to Cruises, Broadway, and Disney.


Of course, we need the government (at all levels), health professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to get their acts together with an effective response strategy. 


Also, this is a wake up call for better preparedness for all sorts of natural and man made disasters that are awaiting. 


Today it’s a virus (natural or biowarfare) and tomorrow it’ll be a devastating cyber attack that we are woefully unprepared for.¬†


No more playing politics, half measures, and waiting for the next shoe to drop (Spanish Flu, Pearl Harbor, 9/11).


The rest of us need to do our “prepping” parts and to say a prayer or two and keep going.¬†


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.


And they said something that really hit a chord:

You never know what your expiration date is!


What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.


They used the phrase “expiration date” like we so commonly see on food and medicine products.¬†


You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 


So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.


We have a date stamped on us (maybe it’s on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can’t see it.¬†


Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 


Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.


So you better live every day good and meaningfully¬†before¬†your expiration date comes due. ūüėČ


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nightmares All Night


Been watching the HBO miniseries on the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster.


HBO has done an excellent job with showing what happened. 


Maybe too good…I was up with nightmares all night.¬†


Last night’s episode 3 showed in gory detail the initial causalities from the facility and first responders suffering with acute radiation syndrome, and was completely horrifying.¬†


In the end, the people were in unimaginable pain and were left as mounds of decomposing flesh from the cellular degradation rather than recognizable human beings.  


(The photo here was just a precursor to that end state.)


The ultimate death toll has been estimated at between 10,000 and more than 100,000. 


The effects of the the radiation was described in the show as like trillions of bullets penetrating everything it comes in contact with for the next 50,000 years.


So far we’ve had Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2012)…OMG, let’s hope and pray that we don’t have any others, because this was truly looking at hell on earth. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Official Trailer here)